Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ooops! Those Typos Get You Every Time!

Hi all,

When you are a writer, whether you write articles or books, the worst thing that can happen is to let your words go to print and then find out that you have one (or more!) typos, misspelled or misused words.  And if those mistakes are there - people will find them.  It's bad enough when this happens when you write an article, but for book authors, this is especially horrible.  Believe me, I know, because I have had to re-download my two books multiple times in order to fix everything from a tiny typo to a huge mistake. 

Why Mistakes Happen

You would think that after re-reading your manuscript at least 10 times you would find every error - but that wasn't the case for me.  I couldn't believe the misspelled words that snuck past me - especially since I know better.  Some typos I can pass off as a mistake due to Auto correct.  Quite frankly, auto correct is not a writer's best friend.  It may seem like one of your best allies when you type in ther and it corrects the word to there.  But when auto correct decides it knows what word you want before you even finish typing it, and you don't notice it, then you end up with some random word in your sentence. 

Another culprit is typing too fast.  When my fingers are trying to keep up with my mind, I tend to jumble my words together like thed og wasl ost butn ow i sfound.  Of course, this should be caught when I re-read the manuscript - at least you'd think I'd catch it.

Another reason for mistakes is using the wrong word. A true example from Outlaw Heroes is using the wrong versions of the words peaked, peeked and piqued.  Okay, that was just plain stupid on my part because I do know the difference and yet I still let the wrong version of the word go through.  Recently, while reading other self-published authors, I found there were a lot of mistakes with too & to, farther & further and no & know.  I am sure they knew the right way to use these words but, like me, were so engrossed in writing the story ( and re-reading it) that the mistakes went through to print.

How to Avoid These Mistakes

Of course, the best way to publish your book with the least amount of mistakes is to pay an editor or proofreader to go over your book and point them out to you.  Many of us don't do that with our first book because of the cost.  I know I didn't do it because I thought I had fixed all the errors myself and I couldn't afford to pay someone when I didn't even know if I would sell any books.  Looking back, however, I would have paid someone to proofread my books so the errors wouldn't distract from the stories.  Luckily, a very nice person who read both of my books sent me a list of errors so I could change them and upload new files at Smashwords and Amazon to publish.  At this point, I hope both books are as error-free as possible. 

Another thing I could do is ask friends to read the final copy and point out errors.  This wouldn't be as exact as an editor or proofreader, but it would be better than nothing.

Because I have received such a positive response to both of my books, I will definitely use a proofreader for my third book before publishing.  I want to offer my readers a good story that is as free of errors as possible and I think that would be the best way to accomplish that goal. In the long run, it will be worth the extra money to put out a quality book that I can be proud of and know that readers will not have to stumble over typos and incorrect words.

Are you an author?  What do you do to make sure your book is error-free?


1 comment:

  1. Great explanation of why mistakes happen and how to avoid them, Deanna. Too funny on the jumbled words - reminds me of the result I get when I try to use Dragon Naturally Speaking. And you're right, auto-correct is NOT a writer's best friend!